Deep sea diving, dune buggies and the tallest building in the world...find out why Mo Farah keeps coming back to Dubai
With four Olympic gold medals and multiple world championship titles, Mo Farah is by far the United Kingdom’s most celebrated Olympic athlete. The 33-year-old newly knighted long distance runner raced into Dubai for a whirlwind trip through the city. Read on to find out the star’s tips, first impressions and favourite spots.
This video is best viewed in Google Chrome or the YouTube Mobile Application.
“I’d heard a lot [about] Dubai - but couldn’t quite imagine what it would be like. When I first came here, I straight away fell in love with the place and I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know Dubai could offer this.’ You can do what you like, how you like it; you can go swimming, camel riding in the desert, dune buggying or deep sea diving – there are so many choices.
I came here with my wife [in November last year] and we really enjoyed it, so decided to come back. We spent three days here and went on the dune buggies...and chilled by the beach. It’s been amazing in terms of being able to do my training and enjoy it.
We also did a Nike We Run Dubai run together – [my wife] was running and I was there to support her. We turned up, as we were training at the time, and there were loads of people there who were just running. There were a lot of different groups who were excited to see us.
When I go on vacation, I usually just put my feet up. I get two weeks off and I normally spend it swimming all day with my kids and relaxing with my family. I do a little bit of running but usually just rest and spend it with my children.
I have four kids and I can’t wait to bring them back here. There are many things to do for children from waterparks to activities outside the hotel. Hopefully I can take them on the dune buggies too. My eldest daughter is 11 and I’m sure she’ll love it.
I still run for pleasure and I did 10 miles (16 km) on the beach here just going up and down, and people looked like they hadn’t seen anyone running like that before. I’ve been on holiday to Barbados or Miami, and there’s always a photographer with a big lens, but here there’s nothing like that so I can step away from it all.
One of my friends is an American football player and he said: ‘Oh, find out what [Dubai’s] like.’ People in America have heard of Dubai but sometimes they don’t have a clue. So I can tell them it’s the holiday place and you can do what you want. Plus, the weather is a big positive. It’s snowing in Portland, Oregon [where I train] at the moment, so I wish I could take the weather back with me."
Three things you can’t miss in Dubai...
Definitely go deep sea diving, 100%. Go dune buggying in the sand, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can’t get that anywhere else. And of course, you have to see the tallest building in the world.
The first thing that strikes you...
The buildings! You go downtown and there are just buildings everywhere – 10 years ago it wasn’t like that.
Best place to eat…
We [ate at] Rockfish in Jumeirah Al Naseem, which was amazing. It is probably one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten at in terms of [seafood] –I’m not a fish fan but that made me change my mind. Also, the other thing is that, when you come down for breakfast [for example], you can have whatever you want as everything is halal and you don’t have to worry about anything. In other places, you have to look at the menu, but here you don’t have to think about it... it’s a big advantage.
What’s next for Mo?
My target is to continue on – I’m doing the 2017 World Championships, and after that I’d like to be able to go to the marathons and see how it goes. Don’t forget, there’s the Dubai Marathon here. I’ve not planned to [run] that yet, but maybe when I get to marathons one day, I’d come for that!
I plan one year at a time rather than a few years ahead. As an athlete and long distance runner, it’s not about two, three years...you have to get through each year. If you don’t get through this year, then how can you plan for the next? So I take one year at a time, one race at a time.
If Dubai hosted the Olympics...
It would be different. It’s good to have new cities bidding for it to show anything is possible. The Olympics is about bringing people together and connecting people, and the reason there are five different coloured rings [in the Olympic flag] is to represent all the continents and bring them together. I’m pretty sure Dubai would do a great job, because it’s growing!
Stay active on your holiday - see the best running and cycling tracks in Dubai.